Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces Approval Of $7.75 Million Settlement in Western Digital Gender Discrimination Class and Collective Action

Posted January 8th, 2021.

Click here to read the Approval Order

SAN FRANCISCO, January 8, 2021 – Sanford Heisler Sharp one of the nation’s leading class action public interest firms today announced that on January 5, 2021, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted final approval of a $7.75 million class and collective action settlement in its case against Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies, Inc. on behalf of a class of 1,863 female employees alleging sex discrimination and unequal pay.

Under the Settlement, over $5 million will be distributed directly to class members according to a settlement formula. Class members should expect to receive their individual checks in the mail in February 2021.

Western Digital is a computer data storage company and one of the largest hard disk manufacturers in the world.  The case alleged nationwide discrimination against female employees in pay, promotions, and placement.

Western Digital will also institute comprehensive programmatic relief designed to ensure equal opportunities for women at the company. Western Digital has already initiated several measures and will undertake others designed to enhance equity, objectivity, and transparency in pay and promotions. These measures include: creating a plan to increase the number of women hired and promoted to leadership; educating employees on non-discrimination policies; conducting statistical analyses of gender equity in pay and promotions; and revamping internal complaint procedures. Western Digital will also appoint an internal compliance monitor, who will ensure the implementation and compliance with the agreement and provide reports to the attorneys representing the class.

The Settlement is the culmination of extensive pre-suit analysis of Western Digital’s employment and payroll data, and more than two years of negotiations. Both parties retained nationally renowned labor economists to analyze the data and mediated before David Rotman, Esq., one of the country’s most skilled mediators. Throughout negotiations, parties invested substantial efforts in working to identify meaningful enhancements to Western Digital’s employment practices, which will be implemented as a result of the programmatic relief provisions of the settlement.

David Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler Sharp and co-lead counsel for the class, praised the settlement as “an extraordinary achievement and a testament to the courage and dedication of our client in stepping forward.”

Danielle Fuschetti, of Sanford Heisler Sharp also class counsel, added, “the Settlement also could not have been achieved without Western Digital’s solution-oriented approach. The company chose to focus its resources on compensating employees and promoting fairness and equality, rather than on fighting a long, expensive battle in court. The result is considerable monetary relief and a brighter outlook for women at Western Digital.”

This case is one in a number of notable challenges in advancing gender equity in the technology sector. Sanford Heisler Sharp class counsel in this case, regularly represents individuals and classes of employees in suits against technology companies. In 2016, they represented a class of women who secured a settlement of $8.2 Million in a case against Daiichi Sankyo, and in 2017, they represented a class of female Qualcomm employees in settling class claims for $23.5 Million.

“Our clients are changing the system and holding institutions to account,” reflected Mr. Sanford.  “This settlement is an example of the extraordinary results employees can achieve when they stand up and push back.”

The class was represented by Sanford Heisler Sharp Medina Orthwein LLP and Desai Law Firm PC.

Class members who wish to confirm their mailing information should contact the Class Administrator, Rust Consulting, at 866-665-8440 or [email protected].

For more information, please email [email protected].

About Sanford Heisler Sharp

Sanford Heisler Sharp is a national public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, and Baltimore. Sanford Heisler Sharp focuses on employment discrimination, wage and hour, whistleblower, criminal/sexual violence, and financial services matters. The firm has recovered over $1 billion for its clients through many verdicts and settlements.

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